Page last updated at 14:06 GMT, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 15:06 UK

'Easy' threat to £5 curry house

The new restaurant offers a £5 curry deal

A new Indian restaurant may have to take on an international business in the High Court to keep its name.

Easygroup is threatening Northampton based restaurant Easycurry with action unless it drops its name and signs.

Restaurant spokesman Naz Uddin said they had made efforts to change the typeface and colours but would not back down over the name of the restaurant.

Anthony Robb-John, managing director of Easygroup, said: "We won't let the public be misled."

The group includes the low-cost airline Easyjet, which is famous for its bright orange and white logo and the quirky use of capital and lower-case letters.

The restaurant has similar writing but with a black background with "easy" written in white and "curry" in orange.

Protecting trademarks

Mr Uddin said: "We agreed to change the capital letter so it's all lower case and said we would change the colour but they said that's not enough.

"They're not happy because the word easy is still in the name.

"How can the word easy belong to them? I don't think that can be right."

The restaurant opened four weeks ago and allows customers to pay £5 and then whatever else they think their meal is worth - with no maximum or minimum amount.

"All we're trying to do is to give people the opportunity to eat out in the current difficult economical climate," Mr Uddin said.

Budget airline Easyjet was the first company in the group that was set up by Stelios Haji-Ioannou who was given a knighthood in 2006 for his services to enterprise.

The airline operation has expanded into about 20 other activities including car hire, cinema ticket sales, pizza delivery, cruising, hotels, mobile phones and finance.

Some people think they can make a fast buck by stealing our name and our reputation

Mr Robb-John, of Luton-based Easygroup, said: "We do not hold ourselves out as owning easy but we do own lots of trademarks.

"If people are using those names then we will take the appropriate court action."

In 2003, Easygroup settled out of court over the use of the name by a London takeaway after discovering the business had been in operation since 1997 - seven years before the Easygroup company Easypizza was launched.

And an action taken against the use of internet art seller Easyart's domain name was later dropped.

But Easygroup's website carries a warning to anyone who wants to copy its approach pledging it will fight against anyone trading off its success.

It says: "Some people think they can make a fast buck by stealing our name and our reputation.

"They set up websites and companies using the name 'easy' (or phoenetic versions of it) which can either pay a passing resemblance to an Easygroup company or be a direct copy.

"Sometimes these people ask us for money, sometimes they just hope consumers will think they are an Easygroup company and will part with their money.

"If you see a company that you think is disguising itself as an Easygroup company or that is trying to piggyback off our brand in any way, then please help us to protect both the consumer and our brand."

Sir Stelios drops trademark case
21 Jun 06 |  Southern Counties
Easyart wins domain name fight
09 May 03 |  Business
Customers 'named and shamed' on web
14 Nov 02 |  Technology

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